How many sins does milk really hide? - Page 2

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
bogiesan

#11: Post by bogiesan »

Does milk really hide poorly made espresso?
In my experience, not at all, but I know what to expect in a good espresso. Fully 98% of the customers at all coffee bars do not know espresso from bear whiz. Not even the so-called baristas know what they're pulling because tasting espresso is not part of their training, generally, since the owner of the bar doesn't Customers accept their latté and head for the condiment bar where they slosh it with half and half, cinnamon sugar, vanilla sprinkles, Splenda, and cocoa powder.

Here in Boise ID there are dozens of coffee shops and only two or three have truly skilled and knowledgeable operators. If you come downtown, see Dawson, Thomas Hammer, and Flying M. Ask specifically for, "Your best straight shot in porcelain," and you should receive a delicious espresso.

david boise ID

Phaelon56

#12: Post by Phaelon56 »

zin1953 wrote: I've all but given up ordering any sort of espresso drink -- milk-based or straight -- in restaurants. Between 95-98 percent of the time, it's simply gawd-awful!
Wow. If you have ordered any espresso based drink in restaurants and got one that was acceptable 2% to 5% of the time.... your success rate is waaaay higher than mine :wink:

I've had good espresso drinks in restaurants in exactly two places - at Carriage House Cafe in Ithaca NY (which has a dedicated espresso bar in the restaurant that was originally planned and executed by well known barista and latte artist Chris Deferio) and also at a small Italian restaurant in Caye Caulker Belize. The latter location was run by an Italian expatriate from Milan who made his drinks on an ancient La Pavoni lever machine and did a stellar job with both the food and espresso (sad to say that the place changed hands several years back). I don't even bother getting any type of espresso related beverage in restaurants and even pass on coffee 75% of the time.

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Marshall

#13: Post by Marshall »

bogiesan wrote:Does milk really hide poorly made espresso?
Speaking of "people who are far more knowledgeable than I," David Bogie is one of the godfathers of alt.coffee and the author of The Original Espresso FAQ, linked here for your reading pleasure: http://www.kwilson.fsnet.co.uk/Bogiesan.htm.

I read David's alt.coffee posts avidly years ago, when I was trying to figure out if it was really possible to get crema on an espresso at home (my gold standard for barista skills at the time).
Marshall
Los Angeles

zin1953

#14: Post by zin1953 »

Phaelon56 wrote:Wow. If you have ordered any espresso based drink in restaurants and got one that was acceptable 2% to 5% of the time.... your success rate is waaaay higher than mine :wink:
I was trying to be polite . . . :twisted:
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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shadowfax (original poster)

#15: Post by shadowfax (original poster) »

[Deleted Original Post]

Upon reconsidering, I have realized that much of my argument contained in the deleted post was based on a misunderstanding that was entirely my fault for not being as observant as I should have been. I was also somewhat over-zealous in my response, which was rude, for which I apologize. My opinion has already been stated, and I don't think that anything I've said in my latest posts adds to my original point, so I would like to remove them in the interest of, I suppose, saving face and keeping things constructive.

Again, my apologies.
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Marshall

#16: Post by Marshall »

I was only taking an opportunity to honor David Bogie as one of my on-line mentors, not to cite him as authority for any particular proposition and certainly not to drag him into a nasty-toned debate. My apologies to you, David.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Randy G.

#17: Post by Randy G. »

Marshall wrote:Speaking of "people who are far more knowledgeable than I," David Bogie is one of the godfathers of alt.coffee and the author of The Original Espresso FAQ, linked here for your reading pleasure: http://www.kwilson.fsnet.co.uk/Bogiesan.htm.

I read David's alt.coffee posts avidly years ago, when I was trying to figure out if it was really possible to get crema on an espresso at home (my gold standard for barista skills at the time).
And I will add to that... That same FAQ was where I began my espresso education, but beyond that, along with www.coffekid.com, David's FAQ it was my inspiration to begin my website.
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Psyd
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#18: Post by Psyd »

I think that there is a world of difference between the straight espresso drinkers, home barista or not, and those that drink cappus. They are drinking something that is far different, that uses a common ingredient. Those that would normally drink straight espresso (ride with me for a sec, and you straight espresso drinkers set me aright if I stray) can take a marginal espresso and find it more palatable if it has the milk and sugar to he'p it out. Those of us that drink cappuccini, er, cappuccinoes, whatever, may have a more sensitive palate to what is good or not, if it's in milk. I'm using the word cappuccino to describe a double shot of espresso with two or three ounces of milk steamed to get to four to six ounces of foamed milk, just for reference. Anything that has more than four ounces of milk is beyond my ken, and I'm our of my depth there, so it would just be a SWAG at that point. I'm out as far as I'm comfortable on this limb as it is! ; >
While I'm not as happy with a mediocre doppio in my usual cappu, When I get it just right, it's a wonder. I do occasionally do the straight shot, and mediocrity may not be as noticeable to me, while great straight doppio, er, doppii, er doppioes are unmistakable.
I think that if milk is a constant companion to your daily espresso, you're going to recognise flaws as easily as someone who regularly drinks espresso straight would recognise them in a straight shot.
It's a theory, anyhoo.
Sugar I'm not so confidant about, but I'd think that there is going to be some comparison there.
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Marshall

#19: Post by Marshall »

Psyd wrote:I think that there is a world of difference between the straight espresso drinkers, home barista or not, and those that drink cappus.
The interesting question is how many "cappa drinkers" have just never had great straight espresso or can't make it at home and how many really don't like straight espresso, no matter how well made. I hope that cappa drinkers can keep an open mind until they have sampled espresso from some of the truly great coffee bars. If they still don't like it, then, yes, they are truly "cappa drinkers."

After a year of home roasting on my Fresh Roast, I thought I had a pretty good handle on this roasting hobby. Then I went to an SCAA show where I walked (and drank) a "gauntlet of espresso" of some top roasters and baristas. I realized my home-roasted and home-brewed coffee actually sucked, and that I was never going to put the time or money into learning how to roast it right. So, I went home, gave away my green beans and little roasting machine and have been a happy consumer of other people's roasts ever since. I am not writing this to put down home roasters, but just to point out that we all need reality checks on what "good" really means.

Personally, I find a great espresso to be a nearly orgasmic experience. So, if someone says they love coffee, but don't like straight espresso, I always wonder what they've been drinking.
Marshall
Los Angeles

Frost

#20: Post by Frost »

My main espresso consumption is in the morning capp, I home roast and my espresso experience has evolved mostly in isolation. There is no cafe serving a decent shot within 60 miles (at least that I know of). Whenever I am traveling I make a point to look up the best espresso and order a straight shot followed by a capp. I also get some pro roasted beans while I'm out to calibrate my own efforts. I guess Barefoot would be my closest reliable source of quality espresso and roasted beans. Last good shot I had away from home was a couple months ago. Yes, I agree with Marshall, it's a good idea to get out and calibrate your home efforts. I wish I could do it more often.

I would suggest something for 'Capp only' drinkers that I've been doing for the last 3 years. When you pull a shot, take a teaspoon and slurp it straight before you pour in the milk (I've been doing this with every shot I make for myself). Inhale it all over your mouth, taste it completely, and maybe do it a second time to be sure you got it. While you finish steaming the milk, let it sink in. This is a great way to expand your espresso experience and to improve your efforts. (also a great way to introduce you palate to the capp :)

My experience with this is that some coffee (or roasts...) are better straight, some work better in a capp, and some can go either way. In general though I would definitely say it is easier to make a great capp than it is to make it great straight. There is a wider range of intensity, brighter acidity, and flavors that will be smoothed by the milk. Tasting every shot straight has been really helpful for me to understand the coffee and I have developed a broader appreciation of the range of flavors. A straight shot does not have to be just sweet carmel, fruit and chocolate to be good. If you are home roasting for espresso, I think it is essential to do this to calibrate your efforts.